NBC: Percy Strother Obituary Information
Thu Jun 2 09:18:22 EDT 2005
Strother Percy Strother, age 58 of Mpls passed away May 29, 2005. An
internationally loved blues singer and guitarist. Survived by beloved
wife Roseanna, stepdaughters Anita and Juliet, sons Percy, Jr. and
Tyrone, and four grandchildren; siblings Leo, Mac, Curtis, Frank and
Kathrene; and countless fans and friends. Memorial service open to the
public Friday, June 3rd, 1 p.m., Estes Funeral Chapel, 2210 Plymouth
Ave. No. in Mpls. Interment at Hillside Cemetery following service.
Donations to help pay medical and funeral expenses can be sent to
Strother Family, PO Box 22193, Robbinsdale Branch, Robbinsdale, MN
>From Wednesday's Star Tribune:
When Percy Strother found out he was dying of liver cancer about two
months ago, his wife said he accepted it with the coolness that he
showed through four decades as a blues singer.
"He said, 'Whatever God has planned for me, so be it,' " Roseanna Strother said.
Strother, 58, died Sunday at his home in Minneapolis, a month and a
half after playing his final gig at Famous Dave's Uptown. A native of
Vicksburg, Miss., he was the rare Twin Cities blues figure to have
actually led the hard life that defines the music.
"All Percy had to do to be an authentic bluesman was roll out of bed
each day," said Curt Obeda of the Butanes, who, like many local blues
musicians, got his start in Strother's band.
Strother's childhood in Vicksburg was marred by tragedy and racism.
When he was 8 or 9 his sharecropper father was hanged for allegedly
killing a white man, Roseanna Strother said. His mother died when he
was 14. To avoid the orphanage, Percy and his five siblings moved
around the country. They wound up in the Midwest in the late 1960s.
"They stuck together," said Roseanna, who married Percy in 1970 and
raised three children with him. "He was always a family man."
A singer since his Vicksburg days, Strother found a home in Twin
Cities nightclubs in the '70s alongside other Southern immigrants such
as Mojo Buford, Big Walter Smith, Lazy Bill Lucas and Willie Walker.
Like most of those players, Strother found fans as far away as Europe
but often fought to get noticed at home.
"It might've helped our careers to stay [in the South], but it
would've been too hard to move back," said Walker, who believes that
Strother's voice was "as genuine as you get. And he had the
personality to match."
With the help of R.J. Mischo, another locally reared bluesman he
mentored, Strother recorded the acclaimed 1992 album "A Good Woman Is
Hard to Find."
The title track, inspired by his wife, was named best blues song of
the year by Living Blues magazine in a tie with Robert Cray's "I Was
Also a recent fixture at the Cabooze, the Narrows Saloon, Arnellia's
and area blues festivals, Strother was as recognized for his deep,
soulful voice as for his flashy attire, such as capes and snakeskin
Musician Paul Metsa, who books acts at Famous Dave's, said he even
"dressed to the nines" at his last gig April 15, when cancer had
visibly set in.
"He told me before he went on, 'I can handle it and I am fine with
it,' " Metsa said. "He was the consummate entertainer, and even while
bedridden was working on new material."
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the Estes Funeral
Chapel, 2210 Plymouth Av. N., Minneapolis.
Strother will also be remembered at the Famous Dave's Blues Fest in
Peavey Plaza downtown on June 11, where he was supposed to perform,
and at a June 30 fundraiser concert at Famous Dave's Uptown to help
his family with medical expenses.
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